Tag Archives: school

Fall Fair

I am still orienting myself to the school that Phoebe now attends.  Each fall they put on an amazing fair in which I was asked to help this year.  I was on the committee to create a Crystal Cave.  I could tell that the other parent in charge was sort of a solitary-in-charge type, so I didn’t offer up any creative suggestions…I just played the role of work horse.

My main task was to obtain the materials to sell in the crystal cave for the fair.

I journeyed out to long island to visit a mineral company.  It was a giant warehouse filled with rocks.  Very incredible.  I wasn’t interested in the subject of rocks and minerals at all (I would have much rather continued felting and knitting as my contribution).

I quickly learned that these elements have a power to them.  Touching them, interacting with them gave me a sense of universe and feeling grounded.  It is hard to describe but I really gained an appreciation for these things as I shopped for the items and delivered them to the school.

rocksAs or the cave…

I was only able to help out for a few hours on one of the set up days. When I left, this is what our cave was looking like:

cave 1And when I returned a few days later, it looked like this:

cave 2Yup, that is the same room. Many people who had been coming to the fair for years said this was the best they had seen in a long time.  Since I have never experienced the fair before, I had no idea what the goal was…so taking the work horse role was the right thing to do.

Behind those lights was a second mini cave with real live gnomes in it. Children could pay 4 tickets to visit the tiny gnome cave and have an experience with them and leave with a piece of quartz.

gnome cavePhoebe claims she looked LEAST man like even though she was wearing a beard.  I was just praying nobody had or was spreading lice as they took turns wearing the costumes.

We had a magical day. The whole school smelled of fall –apples, baked bread! The basement cafeteria was turned into an under water world complete with many a knitted sea creature.  The girls pooled their tickets to play games for points and won this:

IMG_7196Feeling a mother sense for this fish, I got right on amazon (oh it’s TOO EASY to buy things like a mattress a carseat a fish hotel in like 5 minutes on this amazon app contraption!) and 65 dollars later hopefully we can keep Banjo alive. Banjo was on the boy name list, so the girls thought it was time to use it. I hope he likes his new home.

 

 

 

Back to School

I interrupt this Iceland blogging to FINALLY bring you the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

On Friday night we got new haircuts!

IMG_3440Then after an epic (I realize I over use this adjective) fashion show with some new fall fashions we got at Target, H & M and Old Navy, we were ready to go.

back to school fashion

Today was the first day of 3rd and 6th grade

IMG_3601I have very little emotion about this. I am incredibly neutral.  I am trying to be very present so that the girls’ and their transitions and emotions can land on stable ground.  I have to stay centered and balanced to absorb all of this, and so far I am doing ok.

One day down.

Pickle’s new hobby is walking as much and as far as she can while holding my hand. She is very easily distracted by dogs and rod iron gates.

2We have new streets to explore in NYC now that Phoebe has relocated, we love seeing the sights.

1Many more adventures to come.  For now, I am going to resist eating my 3rd (or 4th?) chocolate chip rice krispie treat–our traditional first day of school treat.

Stomping Ground

I can’t remember when I first heard about Stomping Ground, but the SECOND I did, I knew I wanted them to be our school’s photographer.  My dream finally came true. I was the parent volunteer on hand to watch every student get their photo taken a few weeks ago.  It was pretty fun to watch all the stages of growing up and the range of emotion about getting one’s photo taken….

stomping ground

I ended up with two of the sweetest frames….and my husband made me blush when he said about this one: “I like this because it shows 3 girls in very awkward stages, and who they can grow up to be”. Aw.  I ordered this one and a second of just the 3 of them, with 3 genuine smiles. The girls smile their truest smiles when they are acting as Big Sis to Pickle.

130306_SMS

Stomping Ground WILL travel, so run, don’t walk, to your next PTA meeting and hire them!  Check out their awesome work.

Middle School

middle schoolHere is something I dislike about living in New York City: Navigating the Public School System.  Fortunately, it has actually worked out very well for us, but we have reached another crossroads: Middle School.  When I was growing up, and I think this is still true for most of America….I went to my neighborhood elementary school which fed into my middle school which fed into my high school.  I just went to school…..

The School Phoebz currently attends is a k-8 school, soon to be k-12.  There are, however, points along the way where you must re-audition to stay in the school. A few years ago the kids in 5th grade knew by December if they would return and then they would either begin a plan to change course or just stay put.  Now we find out in May, which means we are required to work on a Plan B.

Oh the uncertainty!

Thankfully I have come a long way over the years and I have chosen not to stress out about this…just go through the motions, step by step and exercise faith that everything will work out.  Step 1 of many began this past week with an audition for one of our middle school choices for plan B.  Phoebe carefully prepared material, dressed in an outfit that made her feel confident, smiled for her photo and stayed warm in a cab on her way over there.

I was mostly worried about picking up Lolly on time and getting Pickle to the doctor, so it was not an emotional afternoon for me at all.  I was so happy to hear that Phoebe did well, and she felt great about it!

Now we wait.

 

First Day of School

Here is a picture of my friend Megan and me on the first day of school in 5th grade.  Just behind her is a girl named Beth, and all I remember about her is that she was very nice and she had a pin-sized hole in her cheek…like a permanent hole.  It was cool and weird.  I think that woman standing behind me was a Mom of somebody I knew…who knows.

As you can see I am rocking the hottest fashion of the year (drop-waist jumper) but with a Kristy twist: I went with the color (surprise!) and thought that Chimpanzee button was JUST the right touch.  Do you like my perm?

On the first day of school, it was the first day the school was EVER opened…EVER. I was the first graduating class of Springbrook Elementary School and I said the pledge of allegiance on the first day of school in front of the whole school.  Later that year I would be chosen in an assembly to hold a tarantula in my hand and row by row, show every child in the entire school that spider.  To this day I am not phased by spiders.

I also remember having a giant wart on the middle knuckle of my right hand that I chewed on it an attempt to remove it, and getting it removed right before I saw the movie The Little Mermaid for the first time.  When I got out of the movie, I had puss dripping down my hand from under the band aid.  It certainly was an eventful year.

Not to be outdone in the fashion department, Phoebe started her first day of 5th grade this year too!  Lolly made a great fashion statement for the first day of 2nd grade as well. Love the high tops.  Phoebz got a steal on those Steve Madden boots at Savers for $7-

It’s gonna be a great year!

Thrill

Could they look ANY more thrilled that it is the first day of school?

Parent Teacher Conferences

“Your daughter likes to talk with her neighbor…..but, she get’s her work done, so it’s ok.”

Said about both my daughters during their parent-teacher conferences. And that’s where the similarities end.

Actually, what they also have in common is that they love school, learning and they are doing well in school.

Phoebe is my reader. Lolly is my writer (who knew?).  Phoebe loves geography and Lolly, math. Phoebe will sing until she falls asleep and Lolly asks to practice (her flute) more than once a day.

The girl drama that followed Phoebe around for a few years has now found a new prey–poor Lolly…I never thought I’d hear this before: “I’m worried about her confidence.”

What??

I’m trying not to take it to heart, but rather work on empowering my little girl, who really should have been named Moxie.

Overall, I am pleased with their progress.  It’s nice having the word BRIGHT and YOUR DAUGHTER (both) in the same sentence. I am blessed to overflowing really, and I strive (strive I tell you) to shine a light on their path so that BRIGHT it stays.

 

 

Lolly & Me

I went on a field trip with kindergarten this week.  We attended THREE at the Swedish Cottage-Marionette Theatre in Central Park.  It was so great to see the world through the eyes of 5-year-olds.  The kids are studying trees right now, so they were pretty excited to collect tree parts on the way home.

I took a gajillion photos that turned out really well.  Here is one of the Lollster and me.  As much as I love being a Lady who Lunches now that my kids are in school for hours a day, I do miss the Lolly-Mommy time that we used to have each day.

Central Park can be so magical.

Day 1

As we approached the school building, Lolly reluctantly held my hand while crossing the street, claiming that school girls don’t hold hands.  She also mocked me and said: “You’re gonna cry!”

I told her all I felt was happy and so I didn’t think I was going to cry.  Then we met together as a school: students, parents, teachers.  I watched the new little faces gather together and find each other, and I had a few flashbacks to the ups and downs of last year when I knew all of those kids were getting offers for the school but Lolly was not.  I quickly brushed that aside and reminded myself that her kindergarten teacher had  a nametag with her name on it and that she had rightfully earned her place there.

On this morning of the first day of school, the newbies (not many of us) learned the school song and as we sang it together, that’s when I got a tear.  I was so happy to be in one room with both of my children singing together, a joy of life.  I tapped Lolly on the shoulder: I shed a little tear!

Her response: ” I KNEW IT! “

And Speaking of School… Part 2

When I attended the open house for Blue School in the fall and then later in the year for subsequent required visits, I noticed that the space went from white, open and airy, to a living scrapbook of their school experiences.  Teachers and students alike posted art projects, large-worded summaries of an outing/experience, photographs everywhere, sculptures, hanging things, lights etc. etc.  There were always electronics out on tables to be taken apart (old computers, phones, typewriters etc.)

The space played a major part in this multi-faceted play.  I was so excited that the space itself was such a presence for the kids.  Everyone left their shoes in the lobby and walked with inside shoes around the area and kids could visit any classroom they wanted, the art studio and with permission the wonder room (a room with a lighted floor, padded 3-D shapes & a rock climbing wall).

Kids had water table time, glow time (black light on), free play, art stations, snack, music time, Chinese & Spanish classes, yoga, movement, art, and on and on.  Objects in the classroom were labeled with the children’s photo so that they knew where their items belonged.  Unfortunately for Lolly, the photo they used for her was one they took at the playground playdate on the first day of school, in which she chose to cross her eyes and stick out her tongue.

Outside the door was a feelings chart, where everyday the children chose their emotion and placed their photo under that emotion.  Lolly chose SILLY every. single. day.

In this free-form environment Lolly blossomed.  She was encouraged to express herself, her spirit never quashed by rigid rules and requirements.  She was able to freely flow through her day, emotions, friends and joy.  About once a week when I picked her up she was exhausted, and the rest of the time she was very chatty and excited about her day (after reluctantly leaving the classroom to go home with her boring Mom).  I asked: What did you learn today?  Her response was often: We don’t LEARN at blue school…we just play!  When I told her teacher’s that, they smiled and nodded.

Whenever I attended a Parent/Teacher conference, her teachers had lists and lists of specific details about Lolly and her behaviors, interactions with other students, new ideas, skills and abilities.  The discussions we had about her showed me that not only was she getting more-than-adequate attention, but that her teachers genuinely cared about her.  The affect of this atmosphere was evident as Lolly showed love to others and matured in expressing herself. These conferences were a stark contrast to Phoebe’s conferences: brief, checklisty, little specifics about Phoebe as a whole person-good citizen (as my friend Ashley would put it).

The Blue School provided a recommended reading list, which I pulled from for my Mommy College this year.  I learned a lot of interesting techniques and theories, not all of which I agree with, but it definitely helped me understand where the teachers and the school were coming from: no forced apologies, very little “NO”, lots of encouraging and letting an idea take flight, a strong desire for each child to feel safe and never intimidated.  After experiencing this to an extreme at Blue School I think there are many pros to their philosophies, but I also believe in a good old-fashioned scolding–BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!!!!  Or maybe that’s just me stroking my weaknesses….

Overall, I couldn’t be happier (sing it…you know you want to…..), and I am so blessed to have had Lolly attend blue school for a year.  It was worth the crazy commute (4 days a week I had to pick her up at 1 pm on the opposite end of the city as Phoebz, 2 of those days I had to attend Phoebe’s school for a meeting in between 9 and 1, so it was back and forth and back and forth) and expense (no vacation 2009-2010).

So, there it is. That is where my daughter went to school. She will not be returning for kindergarten (boo! yeah!) but if the stars had aligned and she was attending there this fall, I would be thrilled.  I am excited to see where the school goes…the oldest grade this upcoming year is 2nd grade, but I know the blue school guys have big ideas (one idea I heard was 5 years of high school! what?), and it will be interesting to see where those big ideas take them.  To read someone else’s opinion of the Blue School, click here.

PS. I WISH I could list the first names of the kids in Lolly’s class….TOO much….but alas, gotta protect our young ones.  But, I will tell you one of the mom’s I met, her name was Piglet.